Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA2013 B5N1 Type 97 "Kate" 9-348, 14 Kokutai, Sanzao Dao, South China 1938-39

The Nakajima B5N1 first flew in January 1937. It was quite unique for a carrier-aircraft with its low mono wing that folded for storage and wide-track inward folding retractable landing gear. The new Kates were far superior to its competition, the TBD Devastator and the Fairey Swordfish however it did have its shortcomings. It was very poorly armed for self defense and required A5M escort protection. Also the crew and fuel tanks had no protection. The B5N1 was replaced by the improved B5N2.

The prototype of the B5N1 Type 97 completed its maiden flight in January 1937 and ordered into production almost immediately. The new aircraft was state of the art for 1937 and became known as the Kate to Allied forces. 143 Kates took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The B5N1 was Japan’s most effective torpedo bomber but even when it became obsolete because of the newer U.S. aircraft Japan was forced to continue using it because they had no alternatives.

Specifications Nakajima B5N1 (Kate)
Official Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force Designation - Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber
Model 1
Allied Reporting Name - Kate
First Flight – January 1937
Construction Material - All-metal construction with fabric-covered control surfaces
Roles During the war years (1937 – 1945) – Attack Torpedo Bomber, U-Boat Destroyer, Maritime/Coastal Patrol Reconnaissance Bomber
Crew – (3) Pilot – Navigator/Bombardier/Observer – Radio Operator
Dimensions
Wing Span – 50.9 ft (15.52 m)
Length – 33.8 ft (10.30 m)
Height – 12.14 ft (3.70 m)
Wing area – 123.68 ft2 (37.7 m2 )
Weights
Empty – 4,642.94 lb (2,106 kg)
Maximum – 8,851.56 lb (4,015 kg)
Performance
Engine - Nakajima Hakari 3 / 9 cylinder air-cooled radial engine / producing 770 hp @ take off and 840 hp @ 9,842 ft (3000 m)
Fuel Capacity – 255 Imp gal (306 US gal) (1,158 liters)
Propeller - metal 3 blade constant-speed variable-pitch
Maximum Speed - 229 mph 368 kph
Cruising Speed - 159 mph 256 kph
Climb to 9,842 ft (3000 m) - 7 min 50 sec
Service Ceiling – 24,278.22 ft (7,400 m)
Normal Range - 679 miles (1,092.7 m)
Maximum Range - 1403 miles (2,257.9 m)
Weapons – (1) flexible rear-firing 7.7 mm Type 92 machine-gun.
Bomb-load – (1) 1764 lb (800 kg) of bombs
Or
(1) 1764 lb (800 kg) torpedo.